Comparison of models used for national agricultural ammonia emission inventories in Europe: Litter-based manure systems

B. Reidy, J. Webb, T.H. Misselbrook, H. Menzi, H.H. Luesink, N.J. Hutchings, B. Eurich-Menden, H. Dohler, U. Dammgen

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    Six N-flow models, used to calculate national ammonia (NH3) emissions from agriculture in different European countries, were compared using standard data sets. Scenarios for litter-based systems were run separately for beef cattle and for broilers, with three different levels of model standardisation: (a) standardized inputs to all models (FF scenario); (b) standard N excretion, but national values for emission factors (EFs) (FN scenario); (c) national values for N excretion and EFs (NN scenario). Results of the FF scenario for beef cattle produced very similar estimates of total losses of total ammoniacal-N (TAN) (±6% of the mean total), but large differences in NH3 emissions (±24% of the mean). These differences arose from the different approaches to TAN immobilization in litter, other N losses and mineralization in the models. As a result of those differences estimates of TAN available at spreading differed by a factor of almost 3. Results of the FF scenario for broilers produced a range of estimates of total changes in TAN (±9% of the mean total), and larger differences in the estimate of NH3 emissions (±17% of the mean). The different approaches among the models to TAN immobilization, other N losses and mineralization, produced estimates of TAN available at spreading which differed by a factor of almost 1.7. The differences in estimates of NH3 emissions decreased as estimates of immobilization and other N losses increased. Since immobilization and denitrification depend also on the C:N ratio in manure, there would be advantages to include C flows in mass-flow models. This would also provide an integrated model for the estimation of emissions of methane, non-methane VOCs and carbon dioxide. Estimation of these would also enable an estimate of mass loss, calculation of the N and TAN concentrations in litter-based manures and further validation of model outputs
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1632-1640
    JournalAtmospheric Environment
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 2009



    • dietary-protein content
    • nitrous-oxide
    • volatilization
    • storage
    • management
    • livestock
    • abatement
    • cattle

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